About the program

What is Small Group Tuition?

The Small Group Tuition program (SGT) provides literacy and numeracy support for students needing additional support in NSW primary, secondary and specialist schools.

Small group tuition involves supplementary teaching and learning support for groups of 2-5 students. Students are taught consistently for a predetermined amount of time with the intention to reinforce classroom instruction.

From 2024, SGT has become a permanent literacy and numeracy program that builds on three years of COVID Intensive Learning Support Program (COVID ILSP) learnings, research, evaluations, and stakeholder feedback.

SGT provides short-term support for students Needing Additional Support (NAS) as identified by the new NAPLAN standards or department, and school-based assessments. Small group tuition will now be available in every NSW public school

The NSW Government has committed funding for the next four years to deliver an ongoing literacy and numeracy small group tuition (SGT) program.

SGT is a key intervention strategy that builds on the foundation of the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program (COVID ILSP), feedback from schools, national and international evidence. Evidence and early evaluation findings indicate that the small group tuition implemented by schools as part of the COVID ILSP has improved student confidence and engagement in learning. 

Program key features

  • Small group tuition will be provided by additional educators – including casual and temporary teachers, retired teachers and student teachers and School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) who will work closely with classroom teachers to lift numeracy and literacy outcomes for students.
  • The tuition will focus on literacy and/or numeracy that is targeted at students' learning needs.
  • Schools will be supported to identify students needing additional support as identified by NAPLAN, department and school-based assessments.

Reports and research

2021 Audit Office of NSW

This audit examined a state-wide program to provide small group tuition to students disadvantaged by the move to learning from home during 2020.

The audit assessed the design and implementation of the program.

Read the full report here.

Grattan Institute reports

The Grattan Institute produces high-quality public policy recommendations for Australia’s future. Their independent research has helped shape the Australian policy conversation, from childcare to the COVID-19 response.

COVID catch-up: Helping disadvantaged students close the equity gap

Research reported by the Grattan Institute in June 2020 identified that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds faced greater educational disadvantage as a result from the move to learning from home. The report recommended targeted catch-up learning strategies focus intensively on disadvantaged students receiving regular short sessions in reading and maths, three or four times a week over a 12-week period.

The report found the level of impact depended on factors such as:

  • Home environment being conducive to learning
  • Access to digital devices and internet connectivity
  • Parental/other support for learning at home
  • Capabilities and motivation for independent learning
  • Adapting to new routines for learning
  • Well-being and good health.

Read the full article on the Grattan Institute website

Read the report: COVID catch-up: Helping disadvantaged students close the equity gap

Tackling under-achievement: Why Australia should embed high-quality small-group tuition in schools

The Grattan Institute's January 2023 research report emphasises the potential of small-group tuition to bridge the learning gap for struggling students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Supported by robust international research, well-designed small-group tuition has shown the ability to boost student learning by up to four months over the course of a year. Effective small-group tuition involves a tutor working with groups of about 3-5 students for at least 10 weeks, scheduled three times a week for up to an hour each. The benefits arise from focused attention, tailored work, increased opportunities for retrieval practice, and social gains.

Read the full article on the Grattan Institute website

Read the report: Tackling under-achievement: Why Australia should embed high-quality small-group tuition in schools

Work for the department? Find out more about the program on the Small Group Tuition program guidelines webpage. For program enquiries contact us via email at smallgroup.tuition@det.nsw.edu.au.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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